What is Cotton?

What is Cotton?

Cotton comes from nature in is its most original and organic form. It can be a white, fluffy substance that comes from the “Cotton Plant” (Learn Genetics, 2018). These cotton fibers come from the “outer layer of the cotton plant's seeds” to produce its content for use to make clothing and other materials. The scientific and technical development of cotton is quite intriguing. See our Cotton Collection

Cotton is something that is a phenomenon of nature. It is literally created out of thin air. “Most of a cotton fiber's mass originates as carbon dioxide” (Learn Genetics, 2018). This plant creates its fibers from DNA that allow it to breed and create integrated types of cotton varieties. Their “genetic variations cause cotton plants to make fibers that are green, red, brown, or white and some of them are fire proof! (Learn Genetics, 2018). The seed of the cotton plant must first be removed from the plant and then the fibers can be removed from the seed.

Cotton is classified into three categories to determine their quality and value; “long-staple, medium-staple, and short staple” (Weigmann, 2018). The long-staple cotton is the most difficult type to grow, but it is expensive and of the most pristine quality. “The first group includes the fine, lustrous fibres with staple length ranging from about 2.5 to 6.5 cm (about 1 to 2.5 inches) and includes types of the highest quality—such as Sea Island, Egyptian, and pima cottons” (Weigmann, 2018). The next type of cotton is the medium-staple and it is a little shorter than the long-staple cotton which is the standard cotton generally used. The third and final grade of cotton is the short-staple and it is the coarsest of all the cotton categories and it is “used to make carpets and blankets, coarse and inexpensive fabrics, and blends with other fibres” (Weigmann, 2018).

Cotton has a variety of uses. For example, cotton can be made into clothing, hats, scarves, coats, furniture, chair covers, and more. However, cotton is very sensitive and must be harvested as soon as the bolls of the plant open. “To avoid damage to the cotton by wind or rain, it is picked as soon as the bolls open, but since the bolls do not all reach maturity simultaneously, an optimum time is chosen for harvesting by mechanical means” (Weigmann, 2018).

As a natural substance cotton can be subject to insect attacks and pesticides have been used to maintain the vitality of the crops. However, due to the harmful effects to the environment, the development of genetically modified cotton was developed. “‘Bt cotton’ was developed to produce bacterial proteins that are toxic to herbivorous insects, ostensibly reducing the amount of pesticides needed” (Weigmann, 2018).  Just like any natural plant, cotton has been a heavily used commodity for hundreds of year throughout the world to improve our quality of life.




Learn Genetics (2018, May 18). What is cotton? Retrieved from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cotton/what/

Weigmann, H.D. (2018, May 18). Cotton, Fibre and Plant. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant